National Pin-up Day is held every April 22 annually. Since the 1940s, pin-up has been an integral part of American culture. Pin-up refers to paintings, drawings, other illustrations, and photographs of models. A pin-up model is a model whose pictures are produced in mass and intended for informal display. They see the appeal in popular culture and have been delighting fans for a long time. The day comes with retro vibes that coincide with the origins of pin-up models. Most people, not just Americans, dress up in vintage or retro to celebrate the day.
History of National Pinup Day
Pin-up models were fashion models, glamour models, or actresses whose pictures were for informal display. The pictures taken by these models are sometimes known as ‘cheesecake photos.’ ‘Cheesecake’ is American slang for scantily-clad, nude, or semi-nude women photos. The nineteenth-century woman’s potential depended on her sexuality and level of visibility in the public sphere. People assumed that a woman’s availability or sexuality was directly related to how public a woman was.
The term ‘pin-up’ is attested to in English in 1941; however, the documented practice dates to the 1890s. People cut pin-up images out of newspapers, magazines, postcards, or lithographs. They mostly appear on walls, desks, or calendars. In the mid-twentieth century, posters of these images were mass-produced and popularized. Male pin-ups were less common than female pin-ups throughout the 20th century and were known as ‘beefcake.’ Pictures of male celebrities targeted women or girls in this period.
Pin-up modeling has its origins in the theatre with burlesque performers. American burlesque is a variety show with elements of Victorian burlesque, music hall, and minstrel shows. It became popular in the late 1860s and slowly evolved to feature female nudity and blue comedy. In the late 1920s, the striptease element of burlesque overshadowed the comedy and became subjected to extensive local legislation. With legislatures coming down hard on them, it lost its popularity gradually in the 1940s.
National Pinup Day timeline
Burlesque shows are popular and eventually feature female nudity and comedy.
Pin-up modeling starts and gradually gets popular.
The striptease element of burlesque overshadows the comedy and undergoes extensive local legislation.
Burlesque becomes unpopular because of the crackdown by local legislation.
National Pinup Day FAQs
Was Marilyn Monroe a pin-up girl?
She posed for her debut pin-up shoot in 1949 for photographer Tom Kelley, and the first-ever playboy issue in 1953 featured the photo.
What's the difference between pin-up and rockabilly?
Rockabilly is a ‘pin-up girl gone’ alternative with piercings, tattoos, alternative hair, and the likes.
Who is the most famous pinup girl?
Betty Grable was the most popular pin-up girl of the World War II era as she had the fortune of having an ideal body and arriving at the right time for pin-up modeling.
National Pinup Day Activities
Take a pin-up picture
Celebrate the day by taking a pin-up picture. Doing this helps you feel nostalgic.
Participate in a pin-up contest
Participate in a pin-up contest with other models. It will be a fun experience for all who participate.
Go old-school by dressing retro. It is a day to show people how fashionable you could’ve been if you lived in that era.
5 Uncommon Facts About Models
Eating is okay
Contrary to popular belief, many models have healthy diets and don’t go about starving themselves to have the perfect body.
Models don’t always get paid for shoots
Not all shoots pay models, especially those who have just begun in the industry; sometimes the pay takes the form of photos, clothes, or even nothing.
Expectations don’t always match reality for Models
Models are sometimes invited for shoots that the photographer changes to a different type of shoot.
One casting is not enough
Even veteran models have seen rejections, and all models will go through them; landing a modeling job requires a lot of casting.
Modelling can start at any age
There are different types of modeling and agencies that cater to each one. Age shouldn’t be a barrier to a modeling career as there’s something for everyone.
Why We Love National Pinup Day
It brings back nostalgia
Nostalgia is a feeling that everyone loves. National Pinup day is one of those days that brings back the good ol’ days.
It makes people feel good about themselves
Dressing as a pin-up model to celebrate the day makes people feel good about themselves. They get to live that ‘model’ life and just be happy doing it.
It presents an opportunity to dress differently
Who doesn’t love a day where you get to dress vintage? As the day offers vintage dressing, people take advantage of it, which is always fun to see.
National Pinup Day dates